Google+ Circles: Making them Work for You

circle google colorThe role of Circles on Google+ is probably one of the most underutilized tools in social media. Last week we touched on Google+ and tips on how to utilize the giant social media platform. Based on the comments and interactions from that post, I thought this was a good time to delve deeper into Google+ Circles.

Google+ Circles are a way of organizing the people you follow on Google+. You can set up as many different Circles as you would like. One big advantage of Circles is that you can control how each Circle appears to the viewer. In other words, if you create a “Work” Circle, you can choose what information viewers see. If you want your co-workers to have access to your phone number or email, you can make that visible for just them.

It’s easy to create Circles—simply click on the Circle icon at the top of your profile, select the people you would like to add and drag to the “Drop here to Create a New Circle” button. If you see interesting info on the fly, you can just hover your cursor over the person’s name and click the “Add” button, and you can click an existing Circle or create a new one.

Only you know what you name your Circles and who is in them. If you want to create an “Annoying Spammer” Circle, you can do that and only you would know. If revenge is your game, now you can annoy them back without bothering anyone else.

Another advantage over other social media platforms is the ability to pull up the stream of conversation on a particular subject. Let’s say you created a “Rocket Launches” Circle, you can click that Circle to view the latest conversation surrounding that topic.

To keep things simple, you can view Circles and communication on Google+ like this:

  • If you post content and select public, you’re sharing with the world and you don’t care who sees it.
  • If you post content and select “Your Circles,” it would go to all the members of your Circles and act more like a Tweet. Meaning all the people you’ve connected with could see it.
  • If you post content and select “Beta Readers” Circle, you could communicate directly to your story development team without your “Rocket Launches” Circle seeing the content.
  • If you post something and address it to a single person by typing “+” and then their name, it’s like sending an email.

As you can see, there is a lot of power in how you can use your Circles. The ability to fine-tune your conversations and not spam the world with conversation about seemingly meaningless content allows you to gain more respect and build a better brand.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

19 thoughts on “Google+ Circles: Making them Work for You”

  1. This is a really useful post, Jim. Thank you so much. I have never really used Google + correctly and now, thanks to your article, I can now see the potential here. Super!

  2. Great post, Jim! I’ve been migrating over to G+ and Linked In as of late, and prefer the discussions on both, as compared to FB. This helps immensely.

  3. Very helpful post. With Facebook trying to monetize page postings, it’s hard to get any visibility among people who like your page. So, it’s good to know about how Google+ works. The next frontier is how to get readers to join your circles.

    1. Thanks, RJ. The key to finding readers for your circles is to search for keywords related to your theme, context, subject matter, etc of your books. It is much easier to do this with G+ than other platforms and for the most part, I find the conversations much more intelligent and engaging.

      1. But so far as I can tell, there’s no place to search for such things on my page. I can’t figure out how it *works.* Sorry.

  4. So far I don’t have enough people to bother with circles — I guess it’ll have to wait until the shift from Facebook to G+ reaches critical mass?

    1. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can build up circles by engaging in different topics. With over 500 million users on G+, it’s not as big as Facebook, but it has plenty of interaction.

      1. I guess I just find it extremely counterintuitive when it comes to joining in. I don’t even see a place on my own page there to search for such things. Or where posts are, or how to cross-post from my blog, or anything. Cross-posting from my blog is how I deal with most social media, adding unique content as I see fit to customize things. If I can’t do that (as it appears to be according to a brief google search), how am I supposed to use it efficiently?

  5. Thanks Jim, this helps me to understand it a bit better. I’m still quite clueless though and I thought you put individuals into individual circles! I’m still so nervous I might get it wrong that I don’t really bother with it. Maybe I should try it out a bit more and see how I go on. 🙂

    1. Don’t be nervous, you really can’t cause any harm. Just engage and you’ll see. It takes a while to build it up, just like anything else. The best part … you’re not getting hammered with obnoxious ads all the time.

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